Talk about getting a lot of bang for your buck! This game has several components to help foster your child’s development. Squeezing clothes pins requires the child to use the thumb and index finger in a pincer grasp pattern (see the benefits of a pincer grasp listed below). Plus, this game incorporates learning concepts such as math and literacy that you can tailor it fit your child’s learning needs. There is some preparation needed to make this game look fun and appealing to your child, but it will be well worth your time since you will be able to use this repeatedly and also change the learning concepts as your child grows.
Benefits of Playing This Game
1. Develops pincer grasp which is essential for:
– Self-care tasks like snapping, zipping, buttoning
-Pre-writing skills and pre-cutting skills
-Toy and object manipulation like building blocks, turning pages, and holding onto papers
2. Develops literacy and math skills
-Shapes can be drawn on clothespins for shape identificatio and recognition
-Numbers can be drawn on clothespins for number recognition, sequencing, addition, and subtraction
-Letters can be drawn on clothespins for letter and sound recognition, spelling, rhyming, word families, and word blends
What You Will Need
-1 round cardboard piece (old pizza or cake holders work great)
-10 Small clothespins (about 2” long) for the teeth- (I used white ones, but you can paint the wooden ones if you don’t have white)
-10 Regular sized clothespins (about 3” long) for the hair
-2 wiggly eyes (or just draw them on with a marker)
-Red duct tape (or a red marker would work too)
-Fury material (I cut up a fury craft boa but felt pieces, yarn, or tissue paper would work too)
-Glue (preferably craft glue, but any kind will work)
How To Create
1. Start by cutting a large circle out of cardboard or by getting an on pizza or cake holder
2. Cut out a large mouth (note: make sure the mouth is
wide enough so that the smaller clothespins can fit on the top and bottom of the mouth without hitting)
3. Reinforce the mouth with the red duct tape (this will give longevity to the mouth so the clothespins don’t break it down and gives the face nice red lips and use small pieces of the duct tape so they curve easier around the edges
4. Glue on wiggly eyes
5. Cut small strips of the fury material and glue them on the bottom half of the large clothespins
6. Write the learning concepts on the clothespins. I used numbers on the teeth and letters on the hair.
How To Play (And Play Smarter)
Start by laying all the clothespins out in front of the face. Have your child use their pincer grasp to pinch the clothespins and put the white ones in his mouth using number recognition or in numeric order (if old enough)
Then have the child place the clothespins on for the hair. Have them identify each letter as they put it on (if old enough) or have your child spell words with the clothespins as they put it on (if old enough).
Finally admire your child’s work then take the pins off and play again!
….Play It Smarter….
– Build Strength: Have the child get into tummy time posture to play (laying on belly propped up on elbows) to strengthen core, back, and upper body muscles
– Add Movement: Scatter the clothespins around the room and have the child use different gross motor movements to find them such as skipping, crawling, running, hopping, etc.. before putting them on the face.
– Encourage creativity: Foster your child’s imagination by having her pretend she is dentist or hairstylist and have her arrange the teeth and hair clothespins in an artistic way.
Therapist’s Trick- If the clothespins are too difficult for your child to open and close, modify the clothespin by gluing on two long craft sticks over top the original clothespin. The resulting clothespin will have longer, more elongated handles which will make the clothespin easier for the child to open and close the clothespin.